Bitlbee is a really cool program which will allow you to use your favourite IRC client (mIRC, XChat, Opera, etc.) to connect to instant messaging networks such as MSN and Yahoo. It’s quite nice and elegant and will work with any IRC client as it runs as a IRC server locally which serves as a bridge between the IRC protocol and the MSN protocol.
It supports statuses, group conversations and all that so for many people it’ll save quite a bit of memory and desktop real estate as they can combine all their IM programmes into their lightweight IRC client. Obviously it doesn’t support any of the cool stuff like display pictures, nudges or handwriting so it’s no use for instant messaging power users.
You can even use it with Microsoft Comic Chat.